Posted September 30, 2007 4:49 pm by with 8 comments

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A recent State of Retailing Online 2007 report from provides some very useful information about the effectiveness of email in retail. Here are some highlights:

1) Emailing a house list is delivering orders for less than $7 each. This is a real bargain when compared to banner ads ($71.89), paid search ($26.75), and affiliate programs ($17.47).

2) 88% of the merchants surveyed indicated that email became a higher priority during 2007.

3) The average click through rate on house email is 11% with a 6% conversion rate.

4) The average retailer mails its list 64 times each year.

5) Merchants rated different types of marketing emails based on use and effectiveness.
– Online-only promotions (71% use and 66% say it is effective)
– Segmented emails based on stated preferences or purchase history (63% use, 60% effective)
– New product announcement (73% use, 51% effective)
– Shopping cart abandonment (17% use, 13% effective)
– Promoting partners (29% use, 9% effective)

Emailing your house list is one of the easiest ways to increase revenue, but few merchants seem to have a good strategy for taking advantage of it. It is not enough to just email in adhoc fashion when you remember to do it; you need to spend some time planning your campaigns. As this study shows, that planning could pay bigger dividends than the time you spend planning most other marketing efforts.

  • Interesting. So the emails really do pay. Except I always send them straight to spam!

  • David Elefant

    This article says that an average retailer mails its list 64 times a year. On average that would give one email every week giving a 6% conversion rate. I think that this conversion rate is very good. I do agree with you that retailers could do better with better planning. In my opinion they should add testimonials and practical uses for their products. A cookware retailer could send a receipe needing a certain kind of pan give a discount coupon for the pan and add receipes on the website. The client would have to go to the website to get the dscount coupon. Many retailers also dont have upsells.

  • This is because of big part of fraud in other ad methods.

  • I too delete most emails because they are extremely unattractive and by and large cluttered. It is very rare that an email catches my attention and I decide to buy off the net. Frankly, I am surprised at the conversion rate. It needs cross checking if my personal experience is any indication.

  • I think the biggest thing with emails is to stay consistent. Test and retest.

    Another thing with emails is that actually putting some kind of sticky content inside the Email will keep people opening them, looking at them.

    Vs. just hey, buy this product, its on sale.

  • Email works when the content is relevant and valuable

    I’ve experienced click through rates of 35-40% and a 10%+ conversion rate

    A “Buy me” email goes to delete

    An “I can help you and here’s how …. buy me” email works

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  • Test and retest.